The Aphid Chorus

Black Citrus Aphid

Black Citrus Aphid

Cicadas are by far the noisiest family in the order Hemiptera. The typical aphid quietly feeds and is not associated with audible sound. The Black Citrus Aphid, Toxaptera aurantii, is an exception. Colonies will raise and lower the hind portion of their bodies in unison. The movement produces a sound that is audible to the human ear at half a meter. The sound is produced by the aphid abdomens striking the hind leg tibia. Broughton and Harris observed the sound production “… may start as a result of a local or distant stimulus, such as the approach of an observer or the banging of a door..”*. This led them to speculate that the sound may serve as defense against predators.

*W. B. BROUGHTON, K. M. HARRIS. 1971. First recording of the sound produced by the black citrus aphid, Toxoptera aurantii. Bull. ent. Res. 60:559-563.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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